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Promoting Executive Excellence and Accountability

Tuesday, October 17, 2000
Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies
Janice R. Lachance Director
Promoting Executive Excellence and Accountability

I know you share my commitment to excellence in the Senior Executive Service (SES), and I am pleased to announce a regulatory revision which promotes our goal.

The new regulations change the focus of SES performance management from process to results. They eliminate many current process requirements and give agencies more flexibility to tailor performance management systems to their unique mission requirements and organizational climates.

The regulations promote executive accountability by:

  • requiring agencies to balance organizational results, customer satisfaction, and employee perspectives when evaluating senior executive performance;
  • strengthening the link between performance management and strategic planning; and
  • emphasizing the responsibility of agency leaders to communicate performance expectations and take action on performance assessments.

Stakeholders have told us that streamlined regulations are important. But, even more important is the commitment and involvement of agency leaders. Together with our senior executives, we must think seriously about managing performance on an ongoing basis. We have to foster an environment of positive performance management — where agency management consults with senior executives, sets performance goals and expectations in line with the agency goals and objectives, regularly assesses performance against these goals, and uses performance as a true basis for bonuses and other pay decisions, evaluating development needs, and other personnel decisions. Finally, we must support our senior executives as they lead and direct their organizations to deliver for the American people.

Agencies must develop systems to implement the new regulations by the beginning of their next appraisal cycles. By the end of the year, OPM will issue detailed instructions on the approval of new agency systems.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide technical assistance and facilitate information- sharing on innovative performance management systems and practices. On November 14, 2000, we will sponsor a 1-day conference to share the experiences of agencies who are already using balanced measures in their executive appraisal systems. Please encourage your executives, Performance Review Board members, and SES program mangers to attend this conference.

Our website ( contains details on the conference, as well as the regulations and other information on SES performance management. My staff is also available to provide technical assistance. Please contact Anne Kirby, Director of the SES Management Center, at 202-606-1610 or

We look forward to working with you, your Human Resources Office, and your agency's SES members to implement the new regulations. Working together we can use these new regulations to promote a culture change — a culture change that views SES performance management as a tool for driving results, instead of an irritating, annual chore.

cc: President's Management Council
Human Resources Directors